Putting This “Situation” to Bed Quickly
Before it becomes a huge issue as Craig Calcaterra predicts (I also owe him a hat tip), let me just address Cole Hamels’ comments on WFAN radio:
In an interview on WFAN today with Joe Beningo and Evan Roberts, [Cole] Hamels was promoting the Phillies’ World Series DVD when he was asked outright, “Do you think the Mets are choke artists?”
“Last year and this year I think we did believe that [they were choke artists],” he said. “Three years ago we didn’t because they smoked everybody, and I think we all thought they were going to win it all. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. But, yeah, that’s kind of what we believed and I think we’re always going to believe that until they prove us wrong.
“For the past two years they’ve been choke artists.”
A) It’s true — the Mets are choke artists. 5-12 in their last 17 games in 2007, and 7-10 in their last 17 in ’08. The Phillies, on the other hand, went 13-4 in their last 17 in ’07 and 13-3 in their last 16 in ’08.
B) Hamels has every right to talk. Most of the time, when a player starts talking trash, all you need is some credentials to justify the statements. For instance, you wouldn’t accept someone calling Hank Aaron’s 755 career HR derogatory names unless that man was Barry Bonds, who has surpassed the Hammer with 762.
Hamels was the MVP of both the NLCS and the World Series, putting up a 1.93 and 2.77 ERA respectively. In his career, he has a 2.70 ERA in September as well. So Hamels has every right to talk.
C) When the Phillies have talked trash to the Mets, they have backed it up. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins called his team “the team to beat” prior to the 2007 season, and then went out and won the NL MVP and led his team to its first post-season berth since 1993.
Prior to the start of the ’08 season, Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran focused on Rollins, and said that the Mets were the team to beat. The Mets once again floundered in September while the Phillies rolled to their second straight division title and eventually a World Series championship. Furthermore, Rollins predicted the Phillies would win 100 games. Counting the post-season, they won 103.
I’m sure, as Calcaterra mentioned, that the New York media will go crazy over this and it may trickle down. Hopefully, this becomes a non-issue because that’s what it is; it’s just a cocky young player trash-talking after getting a bunch of hardware to put on his mantel. In poor taste, maybe, but not wholly unwarranted and certainly not undeserving criticism.